20 micro-SaaS startups to $5k MRR
It took a median of 14 months to reach $5,000 MRR with their micro-SaaS startups.
But the founders themselves have been in the making for years.
Yes, it is possible for a solo founder to build a profitable micro-SaaS and quit their job. But how much time it usually takes?
I picked a random set of 20 startups built by solo founders in the range of $5,000-$40,000 MRR and looked at how quickly they reached the initial $5,000/month revenue.
While it depends on the circumstances (where you live, do you have a family to support, etc), I think this amount of MRR lets you at least buy food and pay the rent.
But this is revenue, not profit!
True, but the only expense for a solo founder is often the server rent, which is not a significant amount (in most cases revenue ~= profit.)
So let's start with the list! (current MRR is based on July 2021)
|Micro-SaaS||Months to $5k/mo||Current MRR|
|💼 SolidGigs||7 months||7,600|
|🦅 Hypefury||8 months||?|
|🌵 Lasso||9 months||?|
|✉️ signature.email||10 months||9,500|
|📝 Rezi||11 months||12,000|
|📉 GA Insights||12 months||7,500|
|👤 Macanta||12 months||11,000|
|🕊 PDFShift||12 months||7,900|
|🛤 AnyTrack||13 months||22,000|
|👥 Nailted||13 months||12,200|
|📸 InfluenceKit||14 months||11,700|
|🔗 Liinks||14 months||6,600|
|🐻 Bannerbear||16 months||20,300|
|📶 HostiFi||17 months||80,333|
|💵 Billflow||18 months||16,800|
|🏆 Karmabot||18 months||36,300|
|📈 SimpleAnalytics||18 months||10,000|
|🕵️ AgentBuilderPro||21 months||?|
|📊 Plausible||24 months||30,000|
|📄 Smply||25 months||?|
|🛡 Fluxguard||28 months||8,500|
|📦 Plutio||36 months||18,800|
|🏓 Hyperping||42 months||6,300|
We see that it took a median of 14 months to reach $5,000 MRR. Not too bad, isn't it?
Founders in the making
I posted my results to Twitter, and people started to point out that we should also look at when founders started their first project.
This is great - but there's heavy survivorship bias. It would be interesting to not only look at the successful startups in isolation but look at when their creators started their first indie project.— Fabian Becker 🇩🇪 (@geekproject) May 5, 2021
Hah, kinda true, what you aren't seeing is the year before that I was working on the product and not advertising it well. And the 10 years before that of working on other products and figuring out what works and what doesn't!— Jesse Sutherland (@TheJester12) May 4, 2021
When we see solo founders reaching $5,000/month in 7 months or so, we usually don't see what was happening before starting this particular SaaS.
Founders were often working on their previous projects that didn't work out but eventually led to a startup that did.
I asked some of these microfounders about their first independent project:
If, by "first indie project", you mean my all time first project, I'd say around ... 2005, but it's hard to say which month.
– Cyril from 🕊 PDFShift (12 months to $5,000/mo, currently $8,500/mo)
I started my first indie business in Dec 2012 and I still own/run it. I actually originally built Lasso because my existing business needed it.
– Andrew from 🌵 Lasso (9 months to $5,000/mo)
Hypefury was my first. :)
– Samy from Hypefury (8 months to $5,000/mo, currently $20,000/mo)
There is no overnight success
I hope it's already widely known that these overnight success stories aren't really overnight success stories. The success, if you want to call it that at all, is just a step in a much larger process.
The big valuation.
The grand exit.
Reaching $50,000 MRR.
Whatever it is, it's just a result of the small steps this person took, starting from birth.
Like we saw how Josh Pigford sold Baremetrics for $4,000,000 in cash after working on it for 7 years. What we usually don't see is the 51 projects (not to call them all startups) that came before Baremetrics.
Work on something you like
When we see that overnight success stories aren't a thing, and it usually takes years to make the founder that reaches $5,000/mo in a year, what's there left to do?
There's only one thing left to do – to work on something that you enjoy and find the joy in working with it, not the big valuation or grand exit. They will come, but that's not the goal.
You can join me in my home office on Twitter where I share my learnings about building profitable internet startups.